God was sending a message from heaven when He placed before the people, "You shall not commit adultery." (Ex. 20:14) After that commandment, we find in Lev. 20:10-12 that if there is adultery committed with another man's wife, with a friends wife, with his father's wife or with his daughter-in-law, both were to be put to death. Adultery in the nation of Israel was treated not only as a spiritual law but also had a civil, a criminal dimension to it. God was not going to stand for immorality of any kind among those who belong to Him!
Adultery was a threat. Adultery between two married people carried with it the death penalty. Adultery committed between one married and one unmarried carried with it the death penalty. Adultery is treachery! It is treachery against God. It is treachery against the covenant of marriage! It is treachery against another person. Adultery breaks all commitments and ties to the Lord as well as mankind.
Today, we see our society treat adultery as something so common they call it an affair. It's not longer looked at as immoral. We hear the statements made, "If things were being taken care of at home, they would not have to step out!" In other words, don't worry about a whole hearted commitment to the covenant of marriage, don't be honest and trustworthy in your promises but you can be treacherous if things aren't going well in the covenant! And what happens? The people of God are led into thinking they have a right. Forget God's covenant with us, we have a right to adultery! Forget my covenant I made to God in the holiness of marriage to my spouse, we have a right to adultery! The church flaunts before the world that we too are like them and agree with them in regard to adultery. Just look at our divorces and marital issues. And we wonder why we are converting few and so many have unspiritual mind-sets?
No matter what one says, God still speaks that adultery and fornication (illicit sexual relations between two unmarried) will keep one from heaven (I Cor. 6:9). From the birth of God's covenant people, adultery was treated as a criminal punishment as well as spiritual. It had to be dealt with quickly to keep sin from the encircling the heart of God's people. That's why Paul taught the immoral one at Corinth needed to be removed from among them and the people needed to mourn and weep while they had embraced sin by letting him assembly with them (I Cor. 5) Even when our country was born over 200 years ago, in many places adultery was treated with a criminal dimension. Today it's treated almost as common as a cold. No big deal. And the hearts of people are being destroyed by sin and corruption. I wonder what God still thinks?